Publication Details

Bezzina, J. P., Prendergast, M. B., Blanksby, S. J. & Trevitt, A. J. (2018). Gas-Phase Oxidation of the Protonated Uracil-5-yl Radical Cation. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A: Isolated Molecules, Clusters, Radicals, and Ions; Environmental Chemistry, Geochemistry, and Astrochemistry; Theory, 122 (4), 890-896.


This study targets the kinetics and product detection of the gas-phase oxidation reaction of the protonated 5-dehydrouracil (uracil-5-yl) distonic radical cation using ion-trap mass spectrometry. Protonated 5-dehydrouracil radical ions (5-dehydrouracilH+ radical ion, m/z 112) are produced within an ion trap by laser photolysis of protonated 5-iodouracil. Storage of the 5-dehydrouracilH+ radical ion in the presence of controlled concentration of O2 reveals two main products. The major reaction product pathway is assigned as the formation of protonated 2-hydroxypyrimidine-4,5-dione (m/z 127) + OH. A second product ion (m/z 99), putatively assigned as a five-member-ring ketone structure, is tentatively explained as arising from the decarbonyl ation (-CO) of protonated 2-hydroxypyrimidine-4,5-dione. Because protonation of the 5-dehydrouracil radical likely forms a dienol structure, the O2 reaction at the 5 position is ortho to an -OH group. Following this addition of O2, the peroxyl-radical intermediate isomerizes by H atom transfer from the -OH group. The ensuing hydroperoxide then decomposes to eliminate OH radical. It is shown that this elimination of OH radical (-17 Da) is evidence for the presence of an -OH group ortho to the initial phenyl radical site, in good accord with calculations. The subsequent CO loss mechanism, to form the aforementioned five-member-ring structure, is unclear, but some pathways are discussed. By following the kinetics of the reaction, the room temperature second-order rate coefficient of the 5-dehydrouracilH+ distonic radical cation with molecular oxygen is measured at 7.2 x 10-11 cm3 molecule-1 s-1 , φ = 12% (with ±50% total accuracy). For aryl radical reactions with O2 , the presence of the OH elimination product pathway, following the peroxyl-radical formation, is an indicator of an -OH group ortho to the radical site.

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